The former Prince of Wales, Charles III, was formally crowned on May 6 in a grand ceremony. This was said to be a fun time for all, but it wasn’t on two fronts: One based in history and the other on the family itself.
A poll by the Angus Reid Institute found 52 per cent of Canadians do not favour the continuation of the constitutional monarchy. The poll also found strong support for amending the constitution to put an end to the monarchy, an overall dim view of Charles as a person and as King, and resistance to even calling Princess Camilla “Queen”.
Charles is not a popular man in Canada as the monarchy in modern Canada is largely aesthetic. To most of us, Elizabeth was nothing more than a portrait on stamps and money.
As head of state, the monarchy does practically nothing for us as the federal governor general and the provincial lieutenant governors act as representatives who give the final symbolic seal of approval on all passed legislation. Materially, the monarchy has given us nothing but an arbitrary distinction between Canada and the United States. As a consequence, most Canadians will pay only passive attention to the coronation.
Historically, the monarchy represents a relic of the British Empire, and all that the age of colonialism entailed like the plundering of natural resources via subjugation and exploitation of native populations.
Out of all the recognized states on Earth, only 22 have been spared from British military invasion. The sun may have set on the empire, but the vestiges live on in the form of the British Overseas Territories and commonwealth realms that continue to recognize the British monarchs as their heads of state, with Canada falling squarely into the latter category.
It should be controversial to say monarchies are a dated system of national governance, constitutional or otherwise. The cultures that endorsed royalty have long passed us by, leaving monarchism as an anachronism.
A concept that should be confined to history lives on through a virtue of being lucky enough to avoid deposition by the republican uprisings that swept across the rest of Europe at various points in time.
The character of the British royal family is another point of contention. It is estimated Charles’ coronation cost the British public an upwards of £100 million. Despite being extravagantly wealthy, the royals are regular recipients of government subsidies, thus allowing them to enjoy the finer things. Centuries of wealth accumulation has made the Windsors billionaires, yet they will not pick up the tab for their own party at the expense of a country caught in a serious cost of living crisis.
Class aside, the House of Windsor has a checkered past with some notable developments in recent years. From Prince Harry and Princess Meghan’s claims of a lack of support during racist media coverage of their relationship to Prince Andrew’s connections with the late convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, it is more than evident the royals are messed up. The family have even formally exempted themselves from over 160 laws.
It’s time for Canada to do away with the British monarchy. Even if the power is ceremonial, independence does not equal having someone across the ocean claim sovereignty over that land by way of ancestral conquest.